This time of year brings out the joy of giving more than any other time of year and it’s fun to get in on the action! But before you open your wallet for just anyone I wanted to make you aware of some fraud that is becoming more and more prevalent – especially during the holidays.
- Email charity scams may use legitimate sounding names and link to a website where you can make a donation. The website may look official, but it may not be. Be wary of websites that ask for personal information like your Social Security number, date of birth or account information, which can lead to identity theft.
- Snail mail scams can also look like legitimate organizations asking for donations, but never mail a check unless you’ve called the phone number for the charity and found it to be the real deal.
- Phone calls requesting donations always come with the possibility of a scam no matter what organization they say they work for. Never give out account information over the phone. Ask the phone representative to send you literature about the organization so that you can make an informed decision.
Here are a few small tips to help you avoid giving money to a scam:
- Look the charity up online. Tax deductible charities are listed with the IRS.
- Ask to see the charity’s 990 form. Charities, with the exception of churches, are required to file this form.
- Always ask for literature from the charity.
- Never give money to door-to-door solicitors.
When in doubt, stick to charities that you work with and are familiar with.
Avoiding fraud – just another way to be wise with your money!
By: Stephanie Graves